Wondermondo 🢖 World 🢖 Wonders of Antarctica and Subantarctic islands 🢖 Wonders of Saint Paul and Amsterdam Islands

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Wonders of Saint Paul and Amsterdam Islands

Saint Paul Island
Saint Paul Island / Bruno Navez, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Saint Paul and Amsterdam Islands are remote islands located on the same latitude as Melbourne in Australia. The islands are a part of French Southern and Antarctic Lands – an overseas territory of France. Geographically these islands are not a part of the Sub-antarctic region, but they are even further away from Australia, Asia or Africa, thus Wondermondo includes them with Sub-antarctic islands.

The mild climate and remoteness of the islands have facilitated the development of a distinct ecosystem with endemic species of plants and animals. Unfortunately, this ecosystem has been depleted by the forest fires, by cattle, and other introduced animals and plants.

The landscape of the islands is spectacular, with very tall cliffs. Both islands are summits of volcanoes.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 8 wonders of Saint Paul and Amsterdam Islands

Geological wonders

D’Entrecasteaux Cliffs

Up to 731 m tall cliffs, almost vertical. Populated by tens of thousands of birds.

Grande Coulée

Very impressive lava tunnel with many collapses, rich with plant life. Unexpectedly exotic walking path in this far southern island.

D’Entrecasteaux Falls

Perennial falls cascading down the D’Entrecasteaux cliffs. In strong wind (what is often here) the water is caught up and flies upwards.

Grotte du Bib

A lava tunel. Sinkholes, where the tunnel has collapsed, are covered with vegetation.

Del Cano (Frandes Ravines) Falls

Two impressive, perennial waterfalls. One is falling down a nearly vertical cliff, another is falling vertically into a ravine.

Sources Thermales, Saint Paul

Sources with hot water that is heated by the volcanic heat.

Biological wonders

Plateau des Tourbières

The central part of Amsterdam Island, a 500 – 600 m high plateau with peat bogs. The only breeding site for the critically endangered Amsterdam Albatros (Diomedea amsterdamensis). Wingspan of this bird reaches 3.4 m. Only some 130 birds exist. Plateau contains endemic species of Sphagnum moss.

Grand Bois, Amsterdam Island

The only remnant of the dense forest of Phylica arborea – an subantarctic tree. This forest covers 8 ha, earlier, before the human inflicted forest fires it covered large part of the island.

Phylica arborea, Amsterdam Island

WorldYellow Recommended books

Trial of Strength: Adventures and Misadventures on the Wild and Remote Subantarctic Islands


The world’s subantarctic islands circle the lower part of the globe below New Zealand, Australia, Africa, and South America in the ‘Roaring Forties’ and ‘Furious Fifties’ latitudes. They are filled with unique plants and wildlife, constantly buffeted by lashing rain and furious gales, and surrounded by a vast, powerful ocean.

Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will


The Atlas of Remote Islands, Judith Schalansky’s beautiful and deeply personal account of the islands that have held a place in her heart throughout her lifelong love of cartography, has captured the imaginations of readers everywhere. Using historic events and scientific reports as a springboard, she creates a story around each island: fantastical, inscrutable stories, mixtures of fact and imagination that produce worlds for the reader to explore.


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